Old Words, New Meanings
By Nancy Morgan
January 12, 2009
As the New Year starts, its time for all good citizens to update and revise their vocabulary to reflect the new, improved, politically-correct definitions of certain words and phrases.
Propelled by the exciting notion that words that can mean anything often mean nothing, favorite words of the left took on new meanings in 2008. Meanings that had less to do with the word itself, than with associating a particular word with a vast array of 'feelings,' designed to mangle the original meaning and grant it a new, improved definition.
Leading the list is the trendy word inclusiveness. The word itself invokes feelings of moral superiority and open mindedness. After all, who doesn't want to be "inclusive?"
The new, expanded definition of inclusiveness has become a potent weapon, especially when applied to legal arguments. Under the heading of 'inclusiveness,' liberals are now able to justify any number of left-leaning pet causes in the courts and the court of public opinion.
Inclusiveness is used to validate and empower fringe groups like transsexuals, illegal immigrants, Guantanamo detainees, and any number of weird religions. By lumping these fringe groups with the majority under the rubric of inclusiveness, they are automatically granted not only acceptance, but legitimacy. Pretty nifty, huh?
In a close second, is the much used mean-spirited. The definition of this adjective has been expanded to apply to anyone whose facts cannot be challenged. By labeling a person mean-spirited, there is no need to rebut his underlying argument. The motives of the messenger become the issue, neatly invalidating any inconvenient truths contained in his argument.
One of my favorite new words this year is the word stimulus. It evokes titillating, exciting and positive images. To stimulate is good. To be stimulated is great, right? Few people want to acknowledge that the word 'stimulus,' as it is being used these days, means government spending. I take my hat off to the genius who finally figured out a way to make pork barrel spending exciting and necessary. (I bet it's the same guy that decided to call taxes 'investments.')
Almost as good as inclusiveness, is the word tolerance. Being tolerant is a virtue, implying, as it does, an open heart and open mind. Christian virtues, if you will. Under the new meaning of tolerance, it is now virtually impossible to criticize any aberrant act (unless performed by an intolerant conservative). Being tolerant now means suspending judgment, common sense and traditional values. Not to worry, you get to keep the moral high ground.
Last, but not least, is the word green. Green now means good. 'Being green' automatically includes you in the ranks of those who worship Mother Earth. It confers instant piety without the need to waste your Sunday going to church.
Tithing has been neatly replaced by carbon credits. Whew...no need for any Hail Marys. Just fork over some cash and you are automatically granted absolution, which now means being certified carbon neutral. The only caveat is that the tithing and absolution must be done in a public manner, preferably with a camera or scribe in attendance. Lacking that, labels are available that can be affixed to your clothing, accessories or car proclaiming you are, indeed, carbon neutral.
Besides adding new meanings to words, 2008 also saw other words fall out of favor. Bad words, mean words, words that hurt.
First on the list of the new bad words is judgmental. The very word implies extreme intolerance, a definite no-no for anyone desiring to be part of the fellowship of man. Making judgments, formerly called having an opinion, is now verboten under the new rules of polite society.
Also falling out of favor is the word argument (formerly called debate). Argument implies intensity, unreasonableness and anger. Now, anytime a liberal starts losing a heated debate, all they have to do is label it an argument and, presto, they can walk away while still maintaining the upper hand. Very cool. And very effective, making totally unnecessary the viewing of both sides of the debate, I mean argument.
As we go to press, other words are in the process of being redefined and/or banned. One of the most vexing to replace is the word bailout. Any progressive who can suggest a new, improved word to replace bailout, will win a prize. (The winner will be declared carbon neutral for a full year.) But remember, the new word must evoke feelings of tolerance, inclusiveness and piety. Oh, and it should be green, too. We await your suggestions.
Nancy Morgan is a columnist and news editor for RightBias.com